Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Charlie is such a helpful dog! And so smart! Sometimes it's almost scary how perceptive he seems.

After we put the Christmas tree up, of course he was interested. He sniffed all the branches and nosed the ornaments. When his mom watered the tree, it was a perfect opportunity to initiate snuzzling. And then there was Jessie - - - who created a little kitty den under the branches and lay there sooo invitingly. So of course Charlie found the tree, well, fascinating.

Hmmm... this spot here needs another ball!

When he took his ball over to the tree and tried to set it on the branches, we were amused at first. And then astonished when we realized that the tree to him was filled with balls and he was adding more. What a smart helpful guy!

Happy Holidays, everyone! And a big WOOF, WOOF from Charlie!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Charlie in Wonderland

Today's snow mystified and captivated Charlie. The water at the bottom of his little pool was frozen hard and came out en masse. He pushed it around and played with it...

What the heck... ?

Then sleet, followed by snow, began falling. He ran and dug his nose in. What a great day!

First snow

Friday, December 09, 2005

Charlie's Back in Town

But it's a new town - Charlie's now in Portland Oregon!

This move revealed one of life's little mysteries to Charlie... STAIRS! Because his new home is built into a hillside, Charlie was faced with them everywhere. To get up to the main level in the house, to get up to the backyard, heck - to get up to the most interesting kitty-inhabited levels in the backyard rock garden... all required ascending vertically.

And Charlie proved to be vertically challenged, at first. He did not know how to deal with these stairsteps, and he did not like them one little bit. Initially, nothing would induce him to even try them. He just refused.

But then... an idea... A treat on each stairstep. Hmmm... not so bad. Kind of fun, really. Within a day, Charlie had overcome his thing with the stairs. Soon he was leaping off the highest rock walls and levitating up onto the upper levels of the rock garden. And now an evening's treat is to fetch balls thrown down the stairs!

Stair master

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Charlie in Space

Well, maybe it's not really Charlie in this movie. At first I tot dat vas Heidi. Whoever it is, though, it looks like they had a very interesting flight. I just hope the landing was soft!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Happy Days!

What a great spring morning!

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Meeting Sammy's Mom

Tonight Charlie got to meet Sammy's mom. She was just as much fun as Charlie hoped she would be.


Pet me?

She petted him and slapped his nose and fed him treats. And she even made noises and played with him - it threw him into a barking frenzy, it was soooo fun!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Vacuum Cleaner

Charlie is not a big fan of the vacuum cleaner. He alternately sniffs it, runs from it, and then works up his courage to attack it!

Checking it out

Working up courage. Scarieeeee....

Saturday, April 16, 2005

6 months and 66 pounds

Today Charlie is 6 months old! To mark the occasion, we started at the vet's, also known to Charlie as "You-Know-Who", for a weight check. 66 big pounds!

Then it was party time. Wahooo - doggies, off to PetSmart!! This was Charlie's first time there, and he was blown away. So many people to pet him! So many doggies to sniff! Dry puppy food scattered on the floor where a bag broke - just waiting to be eaten. And the manager assuring him that it was very fresh and all right to eat!! So fun and so distracting that Charlie took the treat given him by the cashier and then dropped it, uneaten, and forgot about it until mom reminded him.

What a tired and happy little dog he is now - crashed out in the hallway with his new chew, dreaming about his first birthday party!

Birthday dreams

Haley just released a new song!

Charlie's new all-time favorite singer/ songwriter is Haley the Fabulous Ball-loving Black Lab. She just released something new, called Take Me Out. Charlie thinks it's awesome!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Nosing Around

Walks with Charlie tend to be slow and nasal, with spurts of activity. We creep from one house to the next, checking every bush... every lamp post... every spot on the sidewalk.

Hmmm... John has new firewood.

At some locations he sniffs every little thing, and it's only with great regret that Charlie consents to move along. Other locations hold no interest and we rush by.

This way, Mom - let's hurry over to the phone pole!

The best scents are clearly those left by others.

Pekes... I knew it!

And a kitty?

Then, as we get towards home, Charlie will take the leash in his mouth and lead us home - the faster, the better!

Heading for home!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Sincerest Form of Flattery...

Cal's latest post has inspired Charlie to take up the camera yet again.

Charlie? Is that you....


Better... at least he got all his head in this time!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Self portrait

Cal and China had this great idea to take pictures of themselves, and when Charlie heard about it, he had to try it, too! Gotta work on that timer a little...

Self portrait

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Fangs for the Memories...

We have quite a collection of little teeth. It's been clear for the last few weeks that something dental's going on. And it was certainly time for it to happen. Big teeth started to erupt alongside little teeth. Chews tinged pink. And Chilly Bone (the sponge-like toy we freeze for Charlie) never had such a workout!

Then suddenly, it seemed, the little teeth were gone. But where? Outside? Down the hatch? The answer lay in front of us - all around the house. Wherever Charlie normally spends time chewing - there were found little teeth. Little canine fangs, little incisors, even little molars. So small - it's hard to believe they were so sharp and effective!

For now they live in a little box. A remembrance of puppy days.

Charlie & Harley compare teeth

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Puppy Treats!

Charlie demonstrates incredible focus... on puppy treats! With treat motivation, he learned "sit" in record time. "Down" came quickly too (although we don't practice it as much so it's not that solid).

But where his focus is most evident is in the "puppy treat" game. It starts by saying "Charlie, want a puppy treat?" or crying "Puppy drumsticks!" Charlie immediately sits down and gazes intently at your hands to find the treat. Then, with a "one-two" swing so he can see the trajectory, the treat is thrown and Charlie catches it in mid-air.


During the game, any activity in the house can go on, safe from Charlie's attention and assistance. Harley can be fed or go outside. Jessie can saunter around. People can dress. The "food closet" can be opened. And Charlie will wait and watch, never taking his eyes off the treat hands.

It took 5 or 6 tries to get the picture above (which we both enjoyed), and through it, I think the house could have fallen down around us and Charlie would have continued to sit and focus and catch as long as I stayed there with treat in hand!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Sometimes One Ball is Just Not Enough...

Two at once!

Play Ball!

Charlie likes to play ball, especially in the house. In addition to 'Retrieve the ball', he is learning 'Retrieve one ball and dribble another' and 'Catch the ball'.

I almost didn't believe 'Catch the ball' when I first saw it - - I half expected the ball to bounce off his nose. But he catches it! Well... he tries. And sometimes succeeds, as you can see (no, this was not staged; this is Charlie in action).

Eye on the ball...

Got it!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Thank Goodness for Chews!

The inventor of the braided chew is our hero! It is the perfect size for big puppy mouths. It has the right give and squeak to keep little puppies interested. And it's strong enough to last a while, yet not so hard that a puppy can't get somewhere with it. From the moment he first saw one, Charlie was taken with the braided chew.

Charlie & chew

The retriever roll didn't do it for him - too hard. The knotted chew was somewhat interesting, but he couldn't really get his mouth around the knot for chewing. He thought the pressed chew was great - but he's such a strong chewer it hardly lasted a day. And anything small was likely to just go 'down the hatch' with no chewing at all.

Often we can distract Charlie from more vulnerable targets (like Harley, cat or human) with a braided chew. Sometimes when he's being impossibly bitey and all teeth, we even stuff it in.

Chew stuffed in

What's your favorite chew?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Charlie Say's 'No'

Charlie had to go to the vet's this week for his puppy booster shots. He's been there before - - a few times for puppy shots and once for the mouse extraction. Everyone's always very nice to him, there are other dogs to see and bark at (if not nose around yet), and there's always a treat at the end.

This time, however, Charlie decided that enough was enough, and he refused to go in. Flat out refused. And no amount of leash tugging or cajoling or commanding made a bit of difference. So the 38 lb. pup had to be carried in.

I can't wait till he grows out of this, because at his 2 lbs a week rate of growth, there isn't going to be much more Charlie-carrying!

Charlie Angel

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Charlie the Wild Dingo

Deep in the outback
Where things run wild
Lives little Charlie
The dingo child

Charlie in the out back

With teeth so sharp
And dingo growl
And eyes so wild
As he chews a towel

Chewing and redecorating

Over his family
Watches dingo Charlie
Over humans and cats
And his best bud Harley

Let's go in here, Jessie...

As fast as a 'roo
Charlie hunts his prey
And knocks it down
On the ground to lay

Down and pinned!

And chew its tail
And bite its feet
And never its food
To let it eat

Leave that kitty alone!

I can only hope
We survive these years
With dingo Charlie
And all our ears


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sixteen Candles

Charlie is sixteen weeks old today and getting sooooo big! It's hard to call him a puppy anymore; in many ways he's become a little dog.

Charlie at 16 weeks

Charlie and Bear at 8 weeks

He couldn't begin to fit under an airplane seat today, as we pondered doing 8 weeks ago. Now he would need the whole row! No more to worry about a person or dog rolling over on him in their sleep and hurting him. To the contrary - - it's getting pretty crowded on Harley's dog bed, and if he should lie on Harley's face...

Charley and Harley - now

Charlie & Harley - 8 weeks ago

Puppy breath is gone, having disappeared suddenly sometime in the last 2 weeks. Chewing is still Charlie's passion though, and he practices it on dog and human and toy alike; sometimes even on himself!

He can chew his own ears, as well as his tail...

Charlie's legs have grown long, and he's able to jump on a human bed. He doesn't even need a running start; just a little sit and a spring will do it.

Long-legged pup!

He's learning words, and we're learning to spell. Charlie knows 'let's go for a walk' and 'no' and 'sit' and can sometimes follow these commands... if he wants to and especially if a treat's involved. In fact, he'll always sit to catch treats, focusing oh so intently on the activity.

Catching treats (click on the image to view a movie)

"Happy Birthweek, sweet sixteen! We've known you half your life, now, and can't imagine a world without your little hurricane self. Sit and Stay awhile, and we'll have lots more fun together!"

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Don't Fence Me In...

When no human's home to watch him, Charlie stays in the bathroom, babygated. He doesn't like it, though, and makes his feelings known. Barking pointedly at first - then less and less as he becomes resigned and accustomed to the situation. And as he's gotten older, he's seemed to quiet more quickly.

The moment you set foot in the house, however, he explodes. "Let me out! Let me OUT!!," he barks!

I know you can do it, get me OUT of here!

And then he's soooo happy and grateful! Jumping for joy and ear nuzzling - all past sins and incarcerations forgotten.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Back to Normal

There is balance in the universe. After 2 extra-special good dinner days, Charlie the Wild Dingo Dog emerged to test all the boundaries.

Cornering Jessie in the bathroom and doing who knows what to make her hiss and scream. Knocking down Harley and sitting on his head, then trying to drag him by his paw. And chewing on the humans who try to restrain or quiet him!

Charlie has more energy than the rest of the household combined. What a little hurricane!

Who me?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Through the Looking Glass

Twice we have been transported to a wonderful place at human dinnertime. A land where Harley is not being bugged and the cat is not subject to blitz attack (ok, maybe Jessie got jumped once, but once hardly counts). One where humans aren't constantly bleeding from the laying on of sharp little puppy teeth. A land where 'no' is used only in casual dinner conversation, as in "No, I don't care for any more pot roast" or "No, I think we stopped the dvd at the previous scene last night". A land where Charlie is independent, polite and well behaved.

Being good.

Perhaps it's because we were watching Star Captain at the time and Charlie wanted to help create a fantasy atmosphere. Perhaps it's one of those quantum theory situations, like molecules of air all migrating to one place in a room and leaving the rest in vacuum, that are very unlikely but possible.

Could he be sick? I don't think so, he's our playful Charlie in all other ways! And last night he went back to wild dog briefly between dinner and bedtime.

Maybe, just maybe, Charlie's growing up!

Charlie and legal fun

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Charlie is learning to fetch a ball. Unlike a previous dog, Husker, who was a "run after the stick, grab it and run off with it, never let mom get close to it again" kind of Golden, Charlie thinks it's fun to bring the ball back. Now we just have to work on the "give it to mom" part.

Charlie, the Golden Retriever, in action (click on the image to play a movie)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Charlie Hams it Up

Charlie seems to know when the camera is on and that it's time to be extra cute.

Moose (Charlie) and squirrel

He runs around.


And rolls on his back.

I'm cute!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Finding his Voice

Charlie has begun to bark. At anything. At everything. He barked at me coming in the front door. On his night walk the tiniest little noise across the street set him off. At the vets (where btw he weighed 27.4 lb), he entered a barking contest with a huge 107lb yellow lab. If not for mom's intervention, he might have won.

The least little noise is worth a bark. In the house. Out of the house. It doesn't matter. If he hears it and he doesn't recognize it, it's worth a bark.

Charlie watches over his kingdom, ready and alert.